Travel industry looks for expanded visa waiver program and low-season incentives for overseas visitors
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Tourism industry leaders see President Obama an ally in their push to ease visa restrictions for foreign visitors. Executives from big companies like Expedia, Orbitz and Hilton last week met with senior administration officials to push for implementation of a national travel strategy that could help boost jobs and revenue.
“President Obama’s call for a national travel and tourism strategy was one of the most significant developments for our industry in the past decade,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The travel industry has the ability — and stands ready — to quickly hire many of the unemployed workers in our country, but to do that we must have policies in place that increase travel to and within the United States.”
The meeting coincided with introduction in the U.S. Senate of the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act. The measure, introduced by New York Sen. Charles Schumer, along with 10 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle, would expand the visa waiver program and speed up the application process for inbound tourists. (more…)